It’s no secret that the youth of America have embraced Obama as their candidate, and I’m thrilled, but also a little surprised, that for the first time in my life, there is the distinct prospect of the US President actually being younger than I am (although by less than a year — 10 months and 22 days, to be exact). Barack Obama is at this moment, flying to see his ailing Grandmother in Hawaii. Mine is long gone. His age is on my mind, because I can relate to him as a member of my age group, Generation Jones. Not a boomer, much as they would like to lump us in with them (and I always think of Clinton and yes, Dubya as quintessential boomers, representing much that was both good and bad about that generation), and not a Gen-Xer, Generation Jones doesn’t get as much press, but it I’m beginning to ponder what it will be like with one of us actually in charge. To quote Wikipedia’s definition:
Generation Jones is a term that describes people in certain English-speaking countries born between the years 1954 and 1965. American social commentator Jonathan Pontell identified this generation and coined the term to name it. Generation Jones has been referred to as a heretofore lost generation between the Baby boomers and Generation X, since prior to the popularization of Pontell’s theory, its members were included with either the Boomers or Xers. The name connotes a large, anonymous generation, and derives from the slang term “jonesing”, referring to the unrequited cravings felt by this generation of unfulfilled expectations.
From Then to Now
Another age-related topic was on my mind: When I volunteered to work on the Dean campaign in Massachusetts, we used to have many people who were younger than us over to work on the Mass-for-Dean web site. Chris, Emily and James’s laptops would be out at the kitchen table sucking down bits on the still fairly new wi fi network. We worked on the web site, on handouts, signs, coördination of resources and meetings, and a bunch of other activities. I still keep in touch with a few members of the group that Pam affectionately referred to as ‘The kids’. So it’s with a little pride that I view the Dean ’50-state strategy’, the stunningly effective use of the Internet as a fund-raising tool, and the signing up of all of those new voters as perhaps having ‘fetal’ beginnings in our townhouse in Cambridge. Nevertheless, I don’t think any of us had any idea of how sophisticated the online component of the campaign would become.
There is also so much vitality and creativity of those who are now involved in the Obama campaign, which I can plainly see, even from a distance. Even though I’m not a fan of the music, this online ‘grass-roots’ web ad struck me as so polished, so ‘professional’, and so emotionally appealing that I felt that I had to embed it here. Some of the newest generation of voters in the US (and who are, of course, even younger than the kids who crowded around the kitchen table 22 Lilac Court) have made a very impressive get-out-the-youth-vote video: